Just like the previous mini-playlists, The Matinee ’22 v.004 is filled with songs from albums dropping soon (and in one case today). The names are familiar, which means all the songs possesses a high degree of brilliance.

After reading and spinning these tracks, please give a listen (and a follow) to the Songs of January 2022 playlist. It is on SoundCloud and Spotify.

 

Aldous Harding – “Lawn” (Lyttleton, New Zealand)

RIYL: Aldous Harding… if pressed, Destroyer meets French for Rabbits

Way back in June of last year, we openly wondered if Aldous Harding would be releasing a new album after she shared the quirky and groovy “Old Peel”. Nearly seven months later, we have an answer…YES! Warm Chris is still a solid 10 weeks away, but new music from arguably the most innovative and unique artist from New Zealand (and the world for that matter) is a treat. Reminding us of her genius she shares “Lawn”.

The song represents another new phase in Harding’s career, which started off with restrained folk tunes, progressed to chamber folk-pop, and now, well, her music is indescribable. On “Lawn”, off-Broadway converges with the carnival, Vaudeville, alt-folk, and even rock. A delightful melody welcomes us, highlighted by a simple yet catchy piano arrangement. Harding’s voice, meanwhile, sounds like child, which further adds to the track’s innocence. But despite the easygoing feeling of the tune, her lyrics address how a controlling partner can cause one to lose sight of who she is. This realization comes clearer when a growl of the guitar interrupts the carefree vibe and when Harding sings: 

“Where is the shame in me?
Finding the hand in you
You don’t want me to
But it’s my right to

Then if you’re not for me
Guess I’m not for you
I will enjoy the blue
I’m only confused with you”

Simply terrific, as is the wonderfully cinematic video that accompanies the song’s release.

Pre-orders and pre-saves for Warm Chris are available here and directly on Bandcamp. It will be released March 25th on Flying Nun Records and 4AD.

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Guerilla Toss – “Cannibal Capital” (New York City, USA)

RIYL: Battles + Rubblebucket + Deerhoof

Over the course of their decade together, Guerilla Toss have kept things exciting and unpredictable. Effortlessly flowing between and blending styles, ranging from punk, to funk, to new wave, and incorporating jammy elements, it’s easy to see why the band has garnered a bit of a cult following. We described their 2018 record, Twisted Crystal, as boundary-pushing and mind-altering, and in the four years since, we’ve eagerly awaited another full-length.

This week, Guerilla Toss released “Cannibal Capital”, the first single from their upcoming record, Famously Alive. A fantastic groove lays the groundwork under some great fuzzed-out guitar and dreamy vocals. There is a bunch of strange synth sounds and an infectious drumbeat throughout as well. It’s the perfect amount of weird energy that makes Guerilla Toss such an interesting band while also feeling more accessible than previous releases. The amusing video is up on YouTube, and it hammers that home even more.

“Drained my economy of empathy, ecstasy
I’m social with enemies and it takes the best of me
Tangible fanatic my energy memory
That cannibal capitol makes everything sensory”

Guerilla Toss are Kassie Carlson, Peter Negroponte, and Arian Shafiee. Their new album, Famously Alive, hits stores on March 25th. It will be released on Sub Pop Records. Pre-orders available here and on Bandcamp.

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Midlake – “Bethel Woods” (Denton, TX, USA)

RIYL: Spoon, Woods, Shearwater

This year marks 23 years since Midlake formed. For a time, specifically during the recording of their fourth album, 2013’s Antiphon, the band’s future was in question, as primary songwriting and front-man Tim Smith departed. While the rest of the band completed the LP, they took a lengthy hiatus following its release. So when the sextet released “Meanwhile…” and announced a new album was coming back in October, fans, including us, hollered with delight. Although nearly a decade will have passed between outputs, the time off has done wonders for Eric Pulido (guitar, vocals), Paul Alexander (bass), Eric Nichelson (guitar), Jesse Chandler (keys), Joey McClellan (guitar), and McKenzie Smith (drums) because, as indicated on “Bethel Woods”, they sound like a band with a lot to prove.

A gripping urgency fills this classic-rock track from start to finish. The rhythm section of Smith and Alexander leads the way with their trembling approach while the electrical strikes of the three-headed guitar attack and Chandler’s tingling keys add mystery. It all feels like a drama unfolding before our eyes, and Pulido’s songwriting adds to it. Inspired by footage of Chandler’s father at Woodstock, Pulido takes us back to a time when love was indeed shared by all and where people of all walks of life united around a common cause. His words are poetry.

“I’ll go ahead of thee
Meet me in time to be
Weather the Winter’s cold
Every turn of seasons told
In the joys and in the woes

Follow along the path
When will it lead us back
Down the road:

Midlake’s new album, For the Sake of Bethel Woods, will be released March 18th via ATO Records, Cadence Music Group, and Bella Union. Pre-orders and pre-saves are available at these links and on Bandcamp.

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Mitski – “Love Me More” (Brooklyn, USA)

RIYL: Mitski in the ’80s

Mitski does not just write individual songs. Taken together, they tell a complex story about life, whether it’s growing up in an unconventional family or finding one’s way through an increasingly complicated world. Based on her social media disappearance that lasted more than 18 months and through singles “Working for the Knife”, “The Only Heartbreaker”, and “Heat Lightning”, Laurel Hell appears to be Mitski seeking to reclaim her identity and sense of self. For one of indie’s brightest and most influential stars, this may come as a bit of a surprise. Her vulnerability, however, is a major reason why her music connects with so many people, and “Love Me More” is another example of Mitski inviting us into her world.

The song is embedded in the synth-pop and new wave of the ’80s, but it’s not quite like New Order, Pet Shop Boys, or Talking Heads. It, instead, possesses the cinematic textures that has come to define Mitski’s music. Like a great drama, “Love Me More” elicits multiple emotions. One moment, the song is blissful and dreamy, creating the feeling that we’re gliding through the clouds. Then suddenly, the tempo picks up and the synths and rhythms intensify, and we feel like we could run through a brick wall to get what we most desire. For Mitski, that is not just to be loved by someone else but to find purpose in tomorrow.

“If I keep myself at home
I won’t make the same mistake
That I made for 15 years
I could be a new girl
I will be a new girl

I wish that this would go away
But when I’m done singing this song
I will have to find something else
To do to keep me here
Something else to keep me here”

Pre-orders and pre-saves for Laurel Hell are available here and directly on Bandcamp. It drops February 4th via Dead Oceans.

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Yumi Zouma – “In The Eyes Of Our Love” (Christchurch, New Zealand / London, England)

RIYL: Ladyhawke, Middle Kids, Gang of Youths

Since their formation in 2014, Yumi Zouma have perfected the art of bedazzlement. Their bedroom dream-pop floated between intoxication and breathtaking, as the New Zealand quartet relied on subtlety to pluck at listeners’ emotional chords. But as each band member has assumed residence in some of the world’s biggest music cities (New York and London), their sound similarly expanded. As a result, Christie Simpson (vocal, keys), Josh Burgess (guitar, bass), Charlie Ryder (guitar, bass), and Olivia Campion (drums) might be on the verge of reaching the peak of their powers. That is assuming “In The Eyes Of Our Love” is any indication of what is to come.

A more vibrant energy emanates from this uplifting pop-rock number. The orchestral anthems of Gang of Youths and the sweeping urgency of Middle Kids stream through the song, transforming Yumi Zouma from an intimate band to one that could fill every corner of London’s O2 Arena. This tune, as such, is intended to get us up off our feet and moving to face whatever challenges the world sends our way. Simpson’s lyrics, too, are encouraging, as she shares how she faced the darkness and found the light while singing the lines to a Chilean protest song.

“They turn on the floodlights
To stamp on our wrists
I’m mouthing ‘Venceremos’ through splitting lips
Hit forty times over
And dumped in the street
Displayed at the gates to warn off other deceit

I went sideways
I went back
But I fought for truth through every single broken artifact
I’m not trying
To get you off track
But I’m lying if there’s nothing I could do about that”

Yumi Zouma’s fourth album, Present Tense, arrives March 18th via Polyvinyl Records and PIAS Australia. Pre-orders are available here and on Bandcamp.

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Holm – “The Rope” (Copenhagen, Denmark)

RIYL: Fontaines D.C., Iceage, Yung

Mikkel Holm-Silkjær via his project Holm may not be a household name at this moment, but he will be soon. His debut album, Why Don’t You Dance, drops in two weeks, and he’s already shared three stellar songs from it: “Intelligent Moves”, “Erase & Repeat”, and “K’s Choice”. In case music fans did not hear those tunes, he’s shared one more that again demonstrates why he’s one of the great, young singer-songwriters today.

Musically, “The Rope” builds on the post-punk / indie-rock combination that his main project, Yung, and fellow Danish heavyweights Iceage have mastered over the years. The humming bass line gives the track its post-punk foundation while angular guitars and stuttering drums beckon to the great ’90s indie-rock bands like Pavement and Built to Spill. Similar to Stephen Malkmus and Doug Martsch, Holm-Silkjær’s songwriting is tremendous. However, instead of a tongue-in-cheek approach, he tells a story that is more real than surreal. “These things always happen to you when I’m not around / These things always happen to you when you hit the ground”, he sings to a down-on-his-luck friend. Holm-Silkjær then encourages his friend to get up and take charge. Life is too short to feel sorry for oneself, especially in these times.

“The Rope” is just another example of Holm-Silkjær’s brilliance. As such, we cannot wait to hear Why Don’t You Dance in its entirety. Holm-Silkjær’ debut album will be released January 28th via PNKSLM Recordings. Pre-orders available here and directly on Bandcamp.

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The Mysterines – “Dangerous” (Liverpool, England)

RIYL: Heart, a young Wolf Alice, YONAKA

For as long as The Mysterines are around, rock ‘n roll will never die. Despite their age (they’re barely in their 20s), the young Liverpudlians are the heir apparent to Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, Heart, Pat Benatar, and all the other great ’80s rock bands. They proved this recently with explosive tunes in “Hung Up” and “The Bad Thing”. If anyone still questions their abilities, they emphatically respond with “Dangerous”.

Put a snarl on your face because this melodic rocker will make you face your biggest tormentor in the eyes. The riveting guitars give the song its spine while the pounding rhythms provide the courage. The inclusion of keys adds another layer of raw power, chiming through the blistering noise. Lia Metcalfe, however, is the soul of the song. With her deep, assertive vocal, she sings about how being trapped in a bad relationship or repeating the same mistakes can be an endless cycle of despair. She tries to break away from the things that keep her down, but it begins with her becoming aware of the situation. The video for the track is a piece of a great drama that showcases Metcalfe trying to break the cycle. 

The Mysterines are Lia Metcalfe (vocals, guitar), Callum Thompson (guitar), George Favager (bass), and Paul Crilly (drums). Their much-anticipated debut album, REELING, will arrive March 11th via Fiction Records. Pre-order it on the band’s online shop. The LP should be a barn-burner.

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Sun June – “Reminded” (Austin, USA)

RIYL: Land of Talk, Deep Sea Diver, Wilsen

A year ago, Sun June released the stunning and intimate album Somewhere., which included one of the most beautifully crippling songs of the past five years in “Bad Girl”. Three songs, however, were not included on the LP, so the Austin five-piece have decided to share them as part of an extended version of Somewhere. In listening to “Easy”, which they released in November, it immediately became apparent as to why Sun June wanted to share these tunes, and “Reminded” makes it all the much clearer.

Sun June’s newest single sounds like an extension of the aforementioned “Bad Girl” – equally beautiful, vulnerable, and devastating. It is sincerely an “OMG” track. The dream-folk-rock approach is all-consuming, as every note is patiently delivered and expertly executed. The little patters of the drums, the delicate strums of the guitars, and the lithe pulses of the bass provide the lush atmosphere for Laura Colwell’s gorgeous, intimate vocal. Her voice is made for late-night serenades, as it pulls listeners in with every word. Colwell’s tale also concerns the unbreakable pull of love, and she tells this familiar tale with graceful poetry.

“I saw the stars wrap around the room
Pull me into
Sure as your eyes
Dance around the room
Don’t need to be reminded of the last time I saw you
How could I resist you?
How could I not try?”

And how can anyone resist the beauty of Sun June?

The band consists of Laura Colwell (vocals, keys), Stephen Salisbury (guitar), Michael Bain (guitar), Justin Harris (bass), and Sarah Schultz (drums). Somewhere Expanded is out today via Run for Cover Records. The three extra tracks can be purchased as an EP, which is fittingly called +3, on Bandcamp.

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Imarhan “Adar Newlan” (feat. Gruff Rhys) (Tamanrasset, Algeria)

If you have never seen Algerian band Imarhan in concert, make it a priority, especially if they’re performing in a setting like Red Rocks, the forests of Pickathon, or the vast expanse of the Sahara Desert. Their Tuareg-infused music is magical, and it will transform these unique places into dream-like fantasies. For now during these dark, wintry days, their music provides warmth and comfort as well as a bit of escapism. So wrap yourself in your favorite blanket or lay next to an open fire and let your imaginations take flight with “Adar Newlan”.

The song is made for dreaming if not formed from a dream. The delicate guitar work is superb while the brittle rhythms possess a mesmerizing yet sensual tone. Welsh singer-songwriter Gruff Rhys provides guest vocals, and his soft baritone adds to the song’s allure. Taken together, this tune is absolutely spellbinding.

Rhys’ involvement, however, is more than just artistic; it is also symbolic. It signifies how people of different cultures and nationalities and who speak different languages can still come together to create something memorable. The song, in other words, is a reminder of the power of music and how it can unite us. As such, “Adar Newlan” encourages us to believe that better things reside in the future. That we can once again dream together.

Imarhan are: Iyad Moussa Ben Abderahmane aka Sadam, Tahar Khaldi, Hicham Bouhasse, Haiballah Akhamouk, and Abdelkader Ourzig. Their new album, Aboogi, is out January 28th on City Slang. Pre-orders available at these links and directly on Bandcamp.

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